This paper sets out the rationale and structure of a tool for assisting policy-makers and practitioners to understand behavioural challenges and open up thinking on the design of effective 'behaviour change' interventions. The 'Four Dimensions of Behaviour' (4DB) framework is based on the theoretical and empirical research in a range of policy domains including transport and pro-environmental behaviour more generally. The 4DB framework characterises multifaceted behaviours along dimensions of actor, domain, durability and scope. Its application in workshop or structured settings opens up diverse and non-exclusive discussion on designing interventions to match salient behavioural characteristics. The use of the 4DB framework in the transport domain is demonstrated for travel behaviours of interest to policy-makers using examples of buying plug-in vehicles (PiVs), commuting by bicycle, eco-driving and making business trips by train. © 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.